Posts Taged decluttering

Decluttering is bad for the planet. Here’s how to do it sustainably.

by Susan Shain
from Mic Media
August 19, 2021

Picture your neighborhood garbage truck. Got it in your mind? Now picture 29,000 of them, lined up end to end, stretching from Sacramento to San Jose, California. Then, finally, picture all those trucks, brimming with trash and dumping it all in a landfill, every single day.

In the United States, that’s not hyperbole; it’s reality. Every year, we send nearly 150 million tons of waste to the landfill — an amount equal to roughly 2.5 pounds of trash per person, per day. In 2018, that included 9 million tons of clothing and shoes, 9.6 million tons of furniture, and 1.6 million tons of small appliances. That’s bad news for the planet, considering landfills account for 12% of global emissions of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas responsible for at least a quarter of today’s global warming.

If you’re thinking, “I don’t contribute to landfills! I donate my unwanted things!”, you should know that indiscriminate donating is sometimes the opposite of helpful. Thrift stores run by the National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, for example, are only able to sell or give away about half of what they receive, says CEO Dave Barringer. While the remainder is sold to secondary vendors, like online booksellers and overseas clothing markets (which, side note, can be problematic), roughly 5% of St. Vinnies’s donations still end up in landfills.

Though 5% might not sound like much, consider the fact that the four largest U.S. thrift chains — St. Vinnies, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, and Deseret Industries — receive approximately 4 billion pounds of clothing each year, according to Barringer. Clearly, being more thoughtful about what we donate — not to mention what we consume and recycle — could have a positive impact on the environment.

Read the rest on Mic Media.

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My nest is empty, but the stuff remains. Why is decluttering so emotionally fraught?

From The Washington Post
March 4, 2021

 

Last March, when most people were wringing their hands about the shutdown, I felt positively giddy at the prospect of finally getting organized. Time — the rarest of commodities — was now being served up on a silver platter.

So how can it be that, almost a year since the pandemic began, the basement, attic and garage remain as overstuffed as ever? Why can’t I empty my empty nest? I have to confront an uncomfortable truth: It’s not about time; it’s about me.

Although the story about how younger generations have no use for their boomer parents’ stuffhas been well-documented, my lack of progress has nothing to do with dining room tables with seating for 12 or display cabinets. It’s the photo albums, the well-loved baby blankets and the shoe boxes full of letters that have left me paralyzed.

Follow me into my cobwebbed basement, and you’ll find a museum of memorabilia still untouched, despite a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. The bedroom set is a lot easier to shed than the 17-by-20-inch wedding portrait of my mother, who has been gone for 10 years now. It’s too massive and shrine-like to put anywhere else, and yet, how can I just cavalierly toss her in the trash?

Read the rest on The Washington Post.

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Fall Decluttering: What To Get Rid Of

It’s probably safe to say most people are spending a lot more time at home these days! With Fall coming and the cooler, wetter weather on the horizon, there is even more indoor time to be had. While we’re all looking forward to pumpkin spice lattés, new Netflix shows, and the start of the holiday season, we should also take the opportunity to get rid of stuff. “Stuff” is an excellent catch-all term for items that just seem to accumulate over time and overstay their use and need. I look at the start of every season as a perfect time to clear out certain spaces around the house. These are awesome mini projects that should take no more than 1-2 hours each. Do one or two for a few weekends, and by Halloween you’ll have accomplished quite a lot!

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Lighten Your Load by Cleaning Out Your Purse

Me, handing my purse to my husband: “Honey, could you hold my purse for a sec?”

Husband, taking it: “Whoa! What’s in here, bricks?!”

Sound familiar?

Whether your purse of choice is a cool designer number or a small canvas tote, we all tend to use it as a place to stash everything we “need” on the go. The problem is it’s too easy to forget all the items we’ve been putting in there. Then when it comes time to find your keys, a pen, or “that coupon I’m going to use one of these days,” it’s like digging elbow-deep into a mystery grab bag.

Here is our guide to cleaning out your purse—and then keeping it organized.

First, Clean It Out

  1. Take out everything and lay the items out on a table. Make sure to check every single compartment and pocket, inside and outside—even ones you rarely use.
  2. Get rid of all garbage—wrappers, lists, receipts you don’t need, pens that don’t work, dried-up lip balm, a broken and non-repairable bracelet, old kids’ items, etc.
  3. Group together multiples. Do you really need more than one pen, or more than one pair of sunglasses? Likely not. Keep one of each essential item, then put the rest away (but don’t throw it in your junk drawer, natch).
  4. Do you have containers in your purse, such as a cosmetic bag or first-aid kit? Clean those out as well. Throw out that old cracked compact, or the Disney Princess band-aids your now-teenager does not need.
  5. Get rid of seasonal items. Do you really need an umbrella or a wool hat in there when it’s July? Or your seasonal allergy medications when it’s the off-season? How about the heavy set of keys to your in-laws’ cabin that you only visit in November?
  6. Now start returning items to your purse, while evaluating how often you truly use each item. Things like your wallet, keys, phone—of course. But items like a flashlight, hand cream, a granola bar—maybe not? In other words, get rid of the “just in case” items.

 

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Unique Gift Ideas for Your 2018 Christmas Gift List

I must come clean. I’ve already begun Christmas shopping. I know it’s not even Halloween yet. I’ve already made a 2018 Christmas gift list on my Wunderlist app to keep track of the gifts I need to buy and the gifts I’ve already purchased. The gift I got was for someone who is easy to shop for, that’s why I was able to find just the right thing when I was hardly looking.

But this made me think about all the people I need to buy gifts for who are incredibly hard to shop for. We all have a few of those relatives on our list. It also got me thinking about all the spouses, partners, non-shoppers and anyone else who struggles to come up with that something special for that someone special in their lives. The way I see it, when it comes to holidays we all need all the help we can get.

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Style Guide: Prepare Your Home for Baby’s Arrival

If you have a baby on the way, you should start preparing your house for the new family member in advance. In just a few months, you won’t have time to deal with your house, so it’s better to get this out of your way as soon as possible. Not only will you be able to prepare your home for your baby stress-free, but you’ll also be able to create a stylish, safe and healthy environment for your family.

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5 Things You Need to Know Before You Move

Simplify Experts can help you move!

Moving can be stressful and disruptive, so if you have a move on the horizon – use these five strategies to save yourself a lot of  headache! Recently, my family moved to a new house just minutes from our home town.  Here are some of my biggest take-aways for making any move easier.

Declutter Way Ahead of Time

Who wants to pack and move old and unwanted items and outgrown clothes? We certainly did not!

We began decluttering several months before our move. Over time, we decluttered every space in the house. I worked with both of my sons individually and donated old toys and clothes which no longer fit. When we were finished, their bedrooms

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7 Reasons You Might Need to Hire a Professional Organizer

Photo by Sarah Jane from Pexels

When it comes to organizing your home and your possessions, it can be hard for anybody to know where to start and the best way to go about making your house work for you. With all the various stresses of life, like moving home and having children (or anything that requires deep forward planning with time), it can be hard to even find the time to begin the process of organizing your home.

Professional Organizers are a great option for people who need a little bit of extra help with the process of organizing their things. Whether those things be a reorganization of the interior of your home entirely or having assistance organizing stacks of important paperwork, professional organizers can make the process much easier.

Here are seven reasons you might want to hire a professional organizer, and some ideas of what they can do for you.

1. You Want To Declutter, But Don’t Know Where to Start

Without even getting into situational specifics, if you feel that you are having a hard time even starting the organization process, a simple and short meeting with a professional organizer can help you to plan out your moves and come up with ideas for decluttering efficiently. A professional organizer can still help with the process itself, but they’re available for advising on organization projects as well!

2. Reorganizing the Whole Home

When changing around the interior layout of your home, you should probably be thinking

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Four Super Easy Steps to Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

A medicine cabinet is a great place to stash away your personal care products in bathrooms low on storage. Since the contents are behind a closed door, it’s very easy to forget what is inside. Over time the medicine cabinet can become a cluttered mess of long forgotten and expired products. If you want to reclaim your medicine cabinet space, follow these four easy steps:

Clean it out

Take all the contents out of the medicine cabinet. Check the expiration dates on medicine bottles. Dispose of prescrition medicine safely, use this guide to locate a drop-off location. Supplements and over-the-counter medicine can go in the trash. Toss any products you don’t use or need. Carefully remove the glass shelves and wipe them down with glass cleaner.

Make the space work for you

Move the shelves around to suit your needs.

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Three Reasons Why Being Disorganized is Not Your Fault

organized kitchen

It’s not your fault you are disorganized if:

You are spending all day tending to more crucial tasks. Your job is demanding. Caring for your family is a full-time job. Then there are groceries to buy, homework to supervise, sports games to attend, you try to do it all. Something must give, and if that something is staying organized – it’s not your fault. In the past homes were smaller, people owned fewer things, and as a result keeping homes organized wasn’t an issue. One study stated that today the average American family has over 300,000 items – that is a lot of stuff to keep track of and keep organized. Today people work longer hours, spend more time commuting or shuttling children to activities – it’s no wonder so many are disorganized. If you’ve run out of time in the day to maintain an organized home, then it’s time to call for back up.

It’s not your fault if:

Organization isn’t one of your talents. We are all born with different strengths and skill sets. I am a terrible singer, I can’t draw or paint, but I can walk into a room and tell you the most efficient way to organize the space.

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